Sunday, July 17, 2011

Collegium 2011: My Small Group

Each day the mentors met with their Small Groups. Each group was picked by Tom and Joyce. They reflected diversity in disciplines, schools, religious identity. The groups usually met twice a day. During that time we would process the readings of the day or a movie or lecture. The goal was to help us understand and appreciate the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and identity. That meant understanding that at Catholic universities faith and reason went together. It meant understanding various views and positions were important. Additionally, to understand identity you need to have points of comparisons. Having groups that were not exclusively Catholic was very important. It also meant not avoiding issues related to Catholicism that were painful.

Each Small Group was named after an important Catholic intellectual. Our group was the Orestes Brownson group. Brownson was a New Englander who started as a liberal minister. He had various Protestant denominational affiliations including Unitarian and Universalist. He published numerous magazines and was a prominent Transcendentalists. He converted to Catholicism and fluctuated in his social and political view. What was important for us was that he was a person whose identify was always in formation.

Our group was also one of identify formation. We had members from different faith traditions, we had an atheist, we had two graduate students and we had enthusiasm.

Collegium 2011: The Best Small Group

We met in Fenwick Hall. Our room looked out over the cemetery which was actually a pleasant view. Our members were diverse but united in wanting to make the week a time of free, honest, and respectful sharing of ideas and values. They were very successful.

Collegium 2011: The View from My Classroom Window

Ricardo Dello Buono was an Associate Professor of Sociology at Manhattan College. He had lived in Central America. Cara Erdheim was a Professor of English at Sacred Heart University. Mark Fisher was a Physic Professor at the College of Mount Saint Joseph. Judith Huacuja was an Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Dayton. Raymond Patterson was an Assocaite Professor of Religious Studies at Saint Michael’s College. Sonalina Sapra was an Associate Professor of Political Science and Women’s Studies at Saint Mary’s College. Jonathan Pettinato was a Ph.D Candidate and graduate fellow from Fordham University. Skylar Covich was also a graduate fellow and a Political Science doctoral candidate from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

This was a high powered group. They studied at important schools and taught at important schools. They came from not only different parts of the nation but from different countries. They also immersed themselves in the work of Collegium. That meant reading Vatican II documents, articles on Catholic education and history and processing lectures. However, what I liked most was their sense of fun and their willingness to dive into the work at hand.

Collegium 2011: The Best Small Group Ever in the History of the Universe (this year)

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